|Caylee Marie Anthony in a photo from her mother's cell|
phone acquired from public records.
My interest was piqued immediately on July 17, 2008, because I was living just three hours away. The news picked up the story that little Caylee Marie Anthony was last seen on June 16, 2008 in the company of her mother, Casey Marie Anthony in Orlando, Florida. For the following 31 days, "Tot Mom" (a label given to her by famed US TV host Nancy Grace) Casey had been shopping, partying, spending time with a new boyfriend, cooking for his roommates and renting movies. On July 16, 2008, Casey's mother, Cindy, found her at the boyfriend's apartment but was told that Caylee was with a nanny.
Later that night, back at her parent's home, Casey told a convoluted story about the nanny kidnapping Caylee and how she, Casey, had been spending the last month trying to find her. It wasn't long before the police were (finally!) involved, but it would be another six months before little Caylee's remains were found, in a palmetto swamp, only a short distance away from the family residence.
If you want to read all the details and timeline, the Orlando Sentinel has up-to-the-minute coverage also of this riveting saga of the selfish act of a young, attractive, single mother and her less-than-honest relatives who seem to be enabling her at every step of her life.
The point of bringing this up is that the social media, Twitter, has changed forever the way people communicate about everything. And Photobucket, where a relative of mine is working, has joined forces to make it easier to attach photos into 'tweets' (messages) making instant messaging with photos the easiest method possible for sharing news, and lots more. Just yesterday over 500,000 people were following the case online, according to the Orlando Sentinel's twitter writer. (I think that is what she is called, or maybe she's the 'tweeter.' I am only just learning about this.)
In those forward-thinking courthouses where people can use computers or Ipads or phones to tweet, instant information is passed on those who are waiting for the details. I read tweets from an Australian, a Canadian, several British subjects, and someone in Japan. Fascinating. And we all wanted to know how the prosecution team was faring against the defense presenting their witnesses.
I can tweet in real time between my rammed earth home in Colombia to an individual in a bamboo garden in Japan or share our conversation with someone in the outback of Australia (imagine kangaroos jumping across the road, now) providing the satellites are in place. Impressive.
How will this affect the justice system in the U.S.? The demand for instant access has been satisfied in one modern court room in Orange County, Florida and the media and the public will demand it in courts across the nation in the future. The judge who determines it will or will not be allowed in his or her courtroom will face a bright light of discovery and a need for better management of sidebars (Orange Country uses white noise to blank out bench conversations between attorneys and the judge.) and a tolerance for commentary that might go worldwide in seconds.
Even the attorneys - from both sides - were using Twitter to follow public opinion about the case, to get case law information from staff, and to even get tips from the followers about questions that might be asked of upcoming witnesses. (It didn't seem to improve the performance of defense attorney Jose Baez however.) No longer do you have to go to the Coliseum in Rome to watch the lions devour the Christians. You can join a Twitter group and follow the debacle from the office, your home, or even on your vacation.